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Chicago Bears

The Bears signed veteran receiver/return specialist DeAndre Carter to a one-year contract on Tuesday, the team announced.

Carter, 31, appeared in four games with the Bears in 2020.

He has played 94 games in six seasons, with 21 starts, for the Eagles (2018), Texans (2018-20), Bears (2020), Commanders (2021), Chargers (2022) and Raiders (2023). He has caught 108 passes for 1,259 yards and six touchdowns, averaged 22.4 yards with one touchdown on 118 kickoff returns and averaged 9.8 yards on 132 punt returns.

His most productive season on offense came in 2022 with the Chargers. Carter established career highs with 46 receptions and 538 yards and matched a career high with three touchdown catches.

In 17 games with the Raiders in 2023, Carter caught four passes for 39 yards and averaged 23.8 yards on 11 kickoff returns and 9.7 yards on 24 punt returns.


We have plenty of questions about the NFL’s decision in the Falcons tampering investigation, given that the outcome doesn’t seem to mesh with the comments made by quarterback Kirk Cousins during his introductory press conference.

A request was made to interview someone from the league about the situation. The NFL declined to make anyone available.

As an alternative (and despite strongly preferring the ability to talk to someone), we submitted five questions. The NFL responded.

Here they are, as asked and as answered.

1. “The Eagles statement specifies the investigative steps. The Falcons statement does not. What was done to prove the Falcons’ violation?”

A: “The NFL reviewed phone logs, text messages and other documents including transcripts of press conferences, and also conducted interviews with relevant personnel.”

2. “On March 13, Kirk Cousins said he talked to the head athletic trainer during the negotiating window. Was that investigated?”

3. “On March 13, Cousins said he spoke to director of player personnel Ryan Pace. Cousins didn’t specify a day or time, but it likely was before 4:00 p.m. ET on March 13. Was that investigated?”

A: “And yes to your questions 2-3. The evidence found that no Falcons’ employee had direct contact with any of the players before their agents had agreed to terms. The impermissible contact came after that and was done with respect to discuss administrative logistical matters.”

4. “On March 13, Cousins said he became personally involved in the recruitment of Darnell Mooney during the negotiating window. Was that investigated?”

5. “On March 13, Cousins said Kyle Pitts had been recruiting Cousins for roughly two weeks. Was the question of whether Pitts did that at the behest of or with knowledge of the Falcons investigated?”

A: “For 4-5, yes, we looked into it but there was no evidence that the club played a role in those conversations.”

The league also added a comment on our comparison to the Chiefs’ punishment for speaking to receiver Jeremy Maclin during the negotiating window in 2015 and the Dolphins’ 2022 punishment for tampering with Tom Brady and Sean Payton.

“Your Chiefs or Dolphins comps aren’t fair,” the league said, “in both cases, there was direct contact from club executives to the individual player prior to the negotiation period in an attempt to get the player to sign with the club while still under contract to other clubs. [Jeremy] Maclin with the Eagles, with Coach Andy Reid and GM John Dorsey fined for their involvement along with picks. Tom Brady (when he was with the Patriots 2019-20 and then Bucs during and after the 2021 season with ownership fined/suspended).”

The extra statement suggests that the league views tampering during the negotiating window differently. The league seems to be saying that tampering that happens during the negotiating window will be viewed as something less than tampering prior to the negotiating window.

There are two problems with that. First, the Anti-Tampering Policy contains no language supporting that view. Second, the league’s current comments as to Jeremy Maclin case conflict with the league’s statement at the time the punishment was announced. The league’s own release states that the Chiefs’ impermissible contact with Maclin happened “during the 2015 ‘Negotiation Window’" — not before.

That’s what happened here, with three different players: Cousins, Darnell Mooney, and Charlie Woerner.

Some would say the league has lowered the bar for tampering on a league-wide basis. The more accurate view could be that the league will raise and lower the bar on a case-by-case basis, to justify whatever its preferred outcome might be in every given situation.

Some teams get hit harder than others. Some teams get investigated more aggressively than others. The inherent lack of consistency is one of the biggest problems for a league that bristles when accused of making the rules up as it goes — while also reserving the right at all times to make the rules up as it goes.


The NFL finally issued the rulings in the companion tampering cases arising from the 2024 pre-free agency negotiating window. The formal announcements from the league contain one key difference.

The statement issued regarding the question of whether the Eagles tampered with Giants running back Saquon Barkley identifies the steps taken to investigate the situation. In contrast, the statement issued regarding the question of whether the Falcons tampered with Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, Bears receiver Darnell Mooney, and/or 49ers tight Charlie Woerner says nothing about the investigative process.

From the statement as to the Eagles: “In coming to this conclusion, the league reviewed phone logs, text messages and other documents related to Philadelphia’s free agency strategy and decision to sign Barkley. The NFL also interviewed several members of the organization, including Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni, as well as Barkley and Penn State head coach James Franklin.”

The statement as to the Falcons says only that the team acknowledged that “discussion of travel arrangements or other logistical matters” with the three players occurred.

So, did the Falcons admit to direct discussions with players as to travel arrangements or other logistical matters? Or did the NFL (as in the Eagles’ case) come to that conclusion after reviewing phone logs, texts messages, and other documents related to the Falcons’ free agency strategy? Did they (as in the Eagles’ case) interview the players, coach Raheem Morris, G.M. Terry Fontenot, or others?

From the outset of the investigation, we’ve made the point that the quality of the findings will be driven by the thoroughness of the probe. If the Falcons admitted to talking to the players about travel arrangements, did that end the matter? Or did the league use the various admissions from Cousins as the starting point for a #Deflategate-style scorched-earth Ted Wells wild-goose chase?

We’re in the process of finding out what was, and wasn’t, done. Stay tuned.


The NFL has sent a clear message to all teams when it comes to tampering with potential free agents.

Go ahead and do it.

The league announced today that the Falcons tampered with three different prospective free agents. The punishment was, frankly, laughably small.

Here’s the official statement: “The NFL today informed the Atlanta Falcons of the discipline being imposed for violations of the Anti-Tampering Policy related to improper contact with prospective unrestricted free agents Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney, and Charlie Woerner during the two-day negotiating period prior to the start of the 2024 League Year. Atlanta will forfeit its original fifth-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft and pay a fine of $250,000, while General Manager Terry Fontenot has been fined $50,000. While the policy permits clubs to engage with and negotiate all aspects of an NFL player contract with the certified agent of any prospective unrestricted free agent during the two-day negotiating period, any direct contact between the player and an employee or representative of the club is prohibited. This includes discussion of travel arrangements or other logistical matters, which the club acknowledges took place with regard to these three players.”

Eight years ago, the league stripped a third-round pick from the Chiefs for speaking directly to one player — Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin — during the pre-free agency negotiating window.

Either the league has changed its outlook on tampering, or the Falcons got a pass because team executive Rich McKay is the chair of the competition committee. Or, possibly, the league doesn’t want to draw too much attention to cheating, at a time when more and more people believe the fix is in.

On this point, it’s hard not to believe the fix is in. The outcome defies logic, common sense, and precedent. Two years ago, the Dolphins lost a first-round pick and a third-round pick for tampering with Sean Payton and Tom Brady, and Miami ultimately employed neither guy.


DJ Moore said this ofseason that he and the other Bears wide receivers will be racing to be the first to get to 1,000 receiving yards this season, but one of his teammates has no intention of stopping there.

First-round pick Rome Odunze is aiming for at least 1,487 yards during his rookie season. That’s one more yard that Rams wideout Puka Nacua gained while setting the rookie record last season and Odunze said he has his sights set on Nacua — who also set the record for catches by a rookie — as he heads toward the regular season.

“That rookie season record, I’m absolutely chasing that,” Odunze said, via Jason Lieser of the Chicago Sun-Times. “Of course, [I’m] chasing those records and that’s important. I’ll hopefully leave the Bears organization better than I found it. If I have my name on some of those records, that’s just one facet of doing so.”

The presence of Moore and Keenan Allen would seem to work against Odunze getting the ball often enough to surpass Nacua’s production from last season, but heavy attention on the veterans should open the door for the rookie to make a strong impression in his first season.


The Bears’ long quest to get a new stadium was dealt another setback when Illinois passed its budget without allocating anything that the Bears had asked for. But Bears President and CEO Kevin Warren says he still believes something will get done.

“I’m confident at the correct time that we will come together to figure out a stadium solution,” Warren said, via NBCSportsChicago.com.

The Bears’ proposed solution includes tax money from the state making up a significant chunk of the funding for the stadium, and that has been called a non-starter by state officials, who say they’re simply not going to do a deal that makes the taxpayers foot the ball for a stadium that will benefit an already very profitable business like the Bears. But Warren indicated that he believes state leaders can come around to the Bears’ way of seeing things after the November election.

“This is an election year,” Warren said. “We have people who don’t have meals to eat. We have people sleeping on the street. We have a lot of complex issues that we are dealing with. I’m a realist to understand that these projects are not something you do over a weekend.”

The Bears are going to keep pushing for taxpayers to pay for a part of their stadium project, but there’s been no appetite for that in Illinois, Warren’s optimism aside.


With efforts to get taxpayer money for a lakefront Chicago stadium stalled, nearby cities are sniffing around the Bears again.

Via Christopher Placek of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, Aurora has renewed interest in a new stadium for the Bears. Mayor Richard Irvin believes the political hurdles will be more easily cleared in the city he runs.

“I think it’s best for the state of Illinois,” Irvin said. “And I know how politics works. Most politicians will vote based on their interests for their particular district. But I think we would make the pitch and sell — this is what would be good for the entire state of Illinois, and not simply just Chicago.”

Irvin said there are two potential sites for the venue. He would not disclose them, in order to prevent the potential price of the property from unduly increasing.

Aurora sits 40 miles from downtown Chicago.

Arlington Heights also has been in the mix for a Bears stadium, with the team buying a 326-acre parcel of land there. The Aurora options would be smaller than that, but larger than the lakefront location.

The Bears say they’re focused on the lakefront plan. They previously were focused on the Arlington Heights possibility. They’ll have to explore all options until they find one that works.

Until then, they’ll keep on playing their games at Soldier Field.


Marcedes Lewis is officially back in the NFL, at the age of 40.

The Bears announced today that Lewis has re-signed with the team. He played in all 17 games in Chicago last season and has spent the last three months weighing his future options in free agency.

One option would have been retiring. Lewis will be the oldest tight end in NFL history at the age of 40.

But Lewis still thinks he has something to offer, and the Bears agree. Chicago has a young team, but Lewis will provide a veteran presence.


Veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis appears to be set to return to the Bears for the 2024 season.

Lewis told Jay Glazer of Fox Sports that he will be visiting with the team on Monday. Lewis also said that he intends to sign with the team after spending last season in Chicago.

Lewis played in every game for the Bears in 2023 and had four catches for 29 yards and a touchdown. He spent the previous five seasons with the Packers and his first 12 seasons were as a member of the Jaguars.

The Bears signed Gerald Everett earlier in the offseason and Cole Kmet returns as the top member of a tight end group that’s likely going to be getting bigger to kick off the week.


Steve McMichael plans to be at home as he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.

McMichael’s family released a statement saying that as he continues to battle ALS, he is not healthy enough to make the trip to Canton, Ohio.

“Steve McMichael will not be able to travel to Canton, Ohio for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction due to complications of ALS he has so valiantly fought the last three years,” the family statement said. “The Hall of Fame is making plans for presenting his honor at his home. Steve and his family thank you for the fans’ ongoing support.”

McMichael has asked family friend Jarrett Payton to appear in Canton as his presenter. This will be Payton’s second time serving as a presenter at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, having previously presented his father, Walter Payton, in 1993.

McMichael was an NFL defensive tackle for 15 seasons, 13 of them for the Bears. He was a third-round pick of the Patriots in 1980 but was cut after his rookie year and signed as a free agent with the Bears in 1981. In Chicago he flourished, and he was a starter on the legendary 1985 Bears’ defense. He finished his career with the Packers in 1994.